Terrible. Awful. No plot.
“Bad Lieutenant” displays one single goal throughout the entire course of its runtime. That one goal that it holds so highly is to present its protagonist, The Lieutenant, as a terrible person with no redeeming qualities whatsoever. After it manages to achieve such a despicable character, it does nothing with it. The entire film is spent building up by showing how awful a person he is. After numerous disturbing sequences, the audience is left with nothing but a hollow film. At many times I felt like shutting off “Bad Lieutenant”. During a scene where the protagonist sexually abuses two teenage girls, I felt like shutting it off. I watched as The Lieutenant “checked out” the body of a dead woman who lay in a car; a bullet lodged within her forehead. There were no limits to Abel Ferrara’s perversion as a film director. “Bad Lieutenant” follows the life of a police officer in New York. He engages in constant gambling, drug-use, murder, adultery, and thievery. Director Ferrara tries to slide in some sort of religious metaphor in the hopes of making his film poignant and impactful. He fails drastically. The ironic idea that The Lieutenant is a passionate Catholic is as far as any of his symbolism goes. There’s a scene that drags on for nearly ten minutes where The Lieutenant sobs in a church as the image of Jesus Christ appears before his eyes. Everything relating to religion is forced, and it feels like merely an excuse for Ferrara to pass his film off as being intelligent. The before-mentioned scene (with Jesus) is ironic since Harvey Keitel (who plays The Lieutenant) also played Judas in Martin Scorsese’s “The Last Temptation of Christ”. It occurred to me if Judas’ betrayal of Jesus was in anyway involved in Ferrara’s casting of Keitel. It’s more of an interesting observation than anything else. Keitel is quite mediocre during the first hour of the role, and then becomes laughable throughout the rest. For the majority of the film, he displayed no understanding of the role. Yet I find no reason to blame him since the script itself displays the most ridiculous with no human qualities. But during the final forty minutes, as The Lieutenant finds himself on the verge of a nervous breakdown, I found myself laughing at this painful attempt at creating on-screen emotion. Keitel’s Lieutenant begins to sob (very dramatically), he begins to scream and flail about. At times it became confusing whether he was impersonating a child have a temper tantrum or a grown man experiencing regret over having done everything wrong in life. It’s a very embarrassing performance from Keitel that I will disregard do to his far more mature roles in such works as “The Piano”. But as the movies drags on, it finds itself becoming even more repetitive. We see more scenes of The Lieutenant freaking out over baseball, an abundance of scenes where he snort cocaine and then engage in some sexual act. It’s repetitive and Ferrara loses the ability to be even entertaining. Then we have on our hands a film that is grotesque beyond belief, laughable, poorly acted and outright boring? That is the ultimate combination for an insufferably terrible film.
He has problems...and he doesn't seem to care. He pretends to be a father, pretends to be a cop, and spends all his time and money and every vice known to man. Only worthy of watching for Kietel's acting tour-de-force.
rather interesting movie. Definitely disturbing to watch his decent into self destruction.
It's an ugly movie, a descent into amorality and depravity. And although the story ends on a slightly redemptive note, The Bad Lieutenant will still leave a bad taste in your mouth...
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